Tide hosting Cougars

Published 5:39 pm Thursday, November 15, 2007

For the second straight week, Picayune will face a team that it has never played in the past with its future on the line.

The Maroon Tide hosts Lawrence County on Friday in the second round of the Class 4A South State playoffs.

This comes on the heels of a 34-31 double overtime win over Gautier last week, a game in which Picayune provided veteran head coach Dodd Lee his first overtime playoff win ever even though Lee has over 100 wins at the helm of the Maroon Tide.

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He was 0-2 in overtime playoff games before the milestone win last week.

Gautier came in at 3-6 against the heavily favored and second ranked Maroon Tide, but the scrappy Gators gave Picayune all it could handle before the Tide pulled it out on Gabe Hinojosa’s five yard run in the second OT.

“I hope it was a wake up call for us,” Lee, whose team stands 9-1 and which has won nine straight since a season opening loss to Moss Point, said. “Our kids didn’t play awful, we did a lot of good things, we just turned the ball over too much and we didn’t protect our quarterback like we should have. Because of that we let them hang around even though we had the lead most of the game and before you know it we are in overtime.”

Picayune’s moto of survive and advance eventually paid off, and the Maroon Tide are set to host a second round game this week against another team with just one loss, Lawrence County.

The Cougars are 10-1 after beating Northeast Lauderdale 35-7 to open the playoffs at home last week.

“They like to do what we like to do, and that’s run the ball and try and control the clock,” Lee said. “They are very athletic, just like Gautier was.”

Lawrence County, under head coach Mike Davis, lost only to Region 4-4A champion Brookhaven, as the Cougars finished second in that league. LCHS has shown how explosive it can be recently, as it has averaged almost 50 points per game in the last four games.

Picayune’s Albert Richard celebrated his selection to the prestigious Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Classic last week by running for 207 yards and three scores against Gautier. “It’s a big honor for me, something I always hoped I would get a chance to play in,” said Richard, who has rushed for almost 1,500 yards this season while battling an injured heel just about all season. He ran for 2,200 yards as a junior.

“We have a a lot of guys that are capable of making plays for us on any night, but Albert always makes a difference,” Lee said of his speedy senior tailback.

The Cougars have a potent running back of their own, as fullback Kendrick Hardy has run for alomost 1,800 yards this season.

Hardy is the brother of former Southern Mississippi standout tight end Wayne Hardy.

“They just run the football and they do it very well,” Lee added. “They are a very good football team, but this time of year most anybody you meet is going to be pretty good.”

The winner of the Picayune-LCHS game meets the survivor of the Moss Point-Northeast Jones match-up the day after Thanksgiving.

Picayune would be on the road in either case.